Metro East Kickoff Classic: Game Recaps


Illinois Scouting Staff

By Illinois Scouting Staff

Continue to check this page for updates on game recaps throughout the Metro East Kickoff Classic.

DAY 4 - SATURDAY, MARCH 17

EDWARDSVILLE 5, LINCOLN-WAY WEST 2 (TOM PILE; EDWARDSVILLE HS)

Edwardsville used a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by C Collin Elvers’ bases loaded two-run double, to put away Lincoln-Way West 5-2. The Tigers started the inning with a leadoff walk by Cole Hampton. Jack Cooper followed with a double, moving the Hampton to third. A walk by Jonathon Yancik loaded the bases for Elvers and brought a pitching change. Elvers took the first pitch he saw and hammered it, driving in two runs.

Edwardsville used three pitchers to limit Lincoln-Way West to two runs on fours hits. Nick Anderson (Joliet Junior College commit) was responsible for Warriors’ lone RBI, going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Drake Westcott had another impressive day at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with three singles.

OAK FOREST 5, HARRISBURG 3 (TOM PILE; EDWARDSVILLE HS)

Oak Forest starting pitcher Sam Ochoa threw six strong inning, striking out six, surrendering two runs on six hits. The Oak Forest offense scored in four consecutive innings to distance themselves and hold on for the 5-3 victory over Harrisburg.

A back-and-forth game early on, Oak Forest got on the board with a run in the second, but Harrisburg would answer with a run of their own. Two wild pitches by Harrisburg in the top of the third resulted in runs scoring for Oak Forest, giving them a two-run lead that they would not relinquish. Harrisburg mounted a rally in the seventh, but with two outs and the bases load, Oak Forest got Harrisburg to ground out to the pitcher, ending the game.

STL MARQUETTE LINCOLN-WAY WEST (EDWARDSVILLE HS JV)

Lincoln-Way East’s Nathan Deloian entered the game as a reliever in the top of the first with the bases loaded and one run already in when he struck out the first batter he faced, allowed a sacrifice fly to make a 2-0, a two-run single, and tallied another strikeout to end Marquette’s four-run first.

Deloian allowed just two more hits and was relieved with one out in the fifth, giving him a line of 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 0 BB. Jace McWilliams was just as efficient in his 2.2 innings of work, he didn’t allow a hit and struck out five batters to keep his team’s deficit at three.

But those four first-inning runs Marquette scored wound up being the decider. Lincoln-Way West only managed one hit off Mustangs pitching and scored their one run in the second inning on a wild pitch.

JOLIET CATHOLIC 1,  MOLINE 3 (TOM PILE; EDWARDSVILLE HS)

The Hilltoppers lost in their second game on Saturday, 3-1, despite not allowing Moline to score an earned run and out-hitting them eight hits to four. JCA left eight men on base and their only run came on a bases-loaded infield single from sophomore Christian Knapczyk (Louisville commit).

The Maroons made Hilltoppers starter Zak Gould (Memphis commit) work hard in his outing. He threw 73 pitches across four innings, struck out four, and allowed an unearned run on a pair of walks and hits allowed. And in the sixth, with Kyle Winkle (Elmhurst College commit) pitching, Moline’s Brody Harding (Illinois commit) grounded a ball to second baseman Justin Conant (Ball State commit) and reached on an error that scored the run to make it a 3-1 Maroons lead.

After Moline’s starter Jordan Benson (Black Hawk JC commit) scattered seven hits across five innings while striking out seven, relievers Phillip Moyer and Ben Monroe recorded the final six outs, four via the strike out, with relative ease.

KANELAND 6, NORMAL WEST 1 (BLAZIER FIELD; O’FALLON HS)

The first two innings in this game would up covering all the scoring, after Kaneland’s four-run second gave the Knights a 6-1 lead. Despite being a little erratic, the Wildcats couldn’t crack Kaneland starter Reece Sowell, who only allowed an unearned run in his six innings of work. Sowell also walked four and hit two batters, but struck out four and scattered his only three hits allowed.

Normal West’s Austin Collinson reached base three times for the Wildcats, on a base hit and two walks, but allowed eight hits and three earned runs as the day’s starter. Kaneland’s Nikolas Panico and Jack Douglas each recorded two hits and combined for three RBIs in the win.

OSWEGO EAST 4, SALEM 0 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM; SAUGET)

The Oswego East Wolves topped the Salem Wildcats 4-0 in the frigid night cap at Grizzlie Stadium. Wolves starter Shane Schatz (Unsigned Senior) kept the Wildcats honest all game long finishing six strong innings of no run baseball. Schatz allowed two hits, one walk and fanned three.

Oswego East got out to an early lead putting up four in the first courtesy of five singles. Jalen Avery, Collin Wizke, Trent Taylor, Schatz, Matt Vanderwagen had base knocks in the inning. Witzke and Taylor both scored and had an RBI in the inning. Eddie Borwick drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to center.

Salem started a rally in the seventh drawing back to back walks to lead off the frame. Daniel Rodriguez (Harper JC commit) halted any scoring chance for Salem closing the door for the Wolves. He finished with one strikeout and one walk in the inning.

WASHINGTON 17, ST JOSEPH-OGDEN 9 (EDWARDSVILLE HS JV)

The Panthers and Spartans had a wild late afternoon matchup in Edwardsville that went nine innings and ended 17-9, in favor of Washington. The Panthers scored four runs in the third to take a 5-0 lead and were up 6-2 when St. Joseph-Ogden scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie things up that carried the game to extras.

After a scoreless seventh and eighth, Washington erupted and recorded seven hits and scored 11 times to take a commanding 17-6 lead. The Spartans did their best to come back and scored three runs themselves, but that was all they could muster.

Washington had five players who recorded multiple hits and four who drove in two runs each. Leadoff hitter Trevor Reed scored three times and had two hits and No. 2 hitter Kendal Hofer also had three runs scored and reached base four times.

BELLEVILLE EAST 5, BENTON 2 (BELLEVILLE EAST HS)

OAK FOREST 3, BENTON 1 (BELLEVILLE EAST HS)

TINLEY PARK 4, SALEM 1 (EDWARDSVILLE HS JV)

O’FALLON 8, BROTHER RICE 3 (BLAZIER FIELD; O’FALLON HS)

The No. 3 ranked O’Fallon Panthers move to 3-0 on the season after knocking off No. 11 Brother Rice by the score of 8-3. A big seven run second inning was all the Panthers needed. In the frame, Jared Dalonzo and Brayden Arnold doubled. Dalonzo’s double to left-center field knocked in one and Arnold’s double down the right field corner scored two. SS Josh Gibson (Missouri State commit) added a two-run single in the frame.

Senior RHP Hayden Juenger (Missouri State commit) started the highly-anticipated matchup against Brother Rice. The athletic right-hander once again showed why he is one of the top prospects in the 2018 Illinois class. Juenger challenged hitters throughout with a fastball that sat 91-92 mph, touching 93 in the first inning before settling in at about 88-90 mph. Juenger’s final line in the win was 5IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 3K and 2BB.

Josh Gibson and Quinn Lowery both finished 2-for-4 to lead the O’Fallon offense.

Brother Rice scored one run in three separate innings. Senior Sam Jones (Indiana commit) accounted for one of those runs with a no-doubt home run to left field in the fourth inning.

MOLINE 8, STL MARQUETTE 0 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM; SAUGET)

It was a battle between two seniors on the mound RHP Carter DeFoe (Marquette Mustangs) (5 IP, 1 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 ER) and LHP Carter Schierbrock (Moline Maroons) (5 IP, 2 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 R) on the mound.

No hits in the game until a single in the bottom of the fourth by Marquette’s Jack Williams. Moline manufactured one in the fifth and rallied for five in the sixth. Eric Maffie and Brody Harding both doubled, drove in a run and scored in the frame. Maffie went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Moline’s Michael Conner had a solid day going 2-for-4 with a hard hit double to left, two runs scored and one driven in. Ben Monroe threw two scoreless innings in relief striking out one for the Maroons.  

METAMORA 8, HARRISBURG 1 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM; SAUGET)

Metamora Red Bird senior Chase Howerton stymied the bats of Harrisburg for six solid innings of work. Howerton filled up the zone all game with a final line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K. Howerton had an RBI at the plate as well. His opposition Isaac Crab took the loss going 4 ⅔ giving up six hits, five earned, striking out three. He also hit, making solid contact on all three plate appearances.

Metamora hit single after single to manufacture a run in the each the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th inning. They drove the nail in the coffin scoring three in the 5th and two in the 6th. Red Birds Zach Beanblossom and Ben Bachman both finished with two singles, a run scored and a run driven in. Leadoff catalyst Ryan Vogel scored three times and swiped two bags. Harrisburg freshman Javie Beal scored the lone Bulldog run slashing a single of his own.

Harrisburg Sophmore Easton Wallace threw two quality innings in relief giving up a run on one hit, one walk, one HBP and one K. Metamora lefty Joe Nelan closed it out striking out two in the bottom of the seventh, leaving the bases juiced with Bulldogs.

OSWEGO EAST 5, NORMAL WEST 4 (BLAZIER FIELD; O’FALLON HS)

Oswego East scored three in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 5-4 win over Normal West. Liam Geoffrey, Jalen Avery and Adam Green all singled to start off the seventh inning and eventually scored. Trent Taylor delivered the final blow, an infield single down the first baseline.

Normal West scored three runs in the third inning without getting a hit to take the early lead. CJ Lewis delivered a sacrifice fly in the inning.

Normal West starting pitcher Evan Wallgren left the game with the lead thanks to a strong performance. The sophomore right-hander went 4.2 innings, scattered three hits, one earned run and struck out four.

Junior RHP Jake Dirksen got the win for Oswego East out of the bullpen. Dirksen threw the final two innings, allowed one hit, no runs and struck out two. Junior infielder Cam Knauss went 2-for-2 with an RBI for Oswego East.

JOLIET CATHOLIC 11, ST. JOSEPH-OGDEN 3 (TOM PILE; EDWARDSVILLE HS)

The No. 1-ranked Joliet Catholic squad began Saturday on a high note with an 11-3 victory over St. Joseph-Ogden. Junior LHP Alex Vera (Illinois commit) started for the Hilltoppers and threw five hitless innings, walked just two, and struck out eight before he was removed after 72 pitches and a 3-0 Joliet Catholic lead.

JCA got the scoring started in the bottom of the first on a Matt Bebar (North Central College commit) two-run homer over the right field fence. However, St. Joseph-Ogden charged back to tie the Hilltoppers at 3-3 in the sixth. The Spartans scored two runs off junior righty Michael Gurka (Minnesota commit) thanks to a two-run single by Eli Place, and tied the game on a dropped third strike while facing senior reliever Alex Runge (Aurora University commit).

The tie was short-lived though, and in the bottom of the sixth JCA rattled off four straight hits to lead off the inning to take a quick 5-3 lead and wound up scoring six more runs in a sloppy inning for the Spartans defensively. The 11-3 lead after six was where it’d stay.  

PLAINFIELD NORTH 12, METAMORA 2 (6 INN) (BLAZIER FIELD; O’FALLON)

The Tigers of Plainfield North took control of the game from the start, scoring seven runs in the first inning. The first seven batters to start the game, reached base and scored. Cameron Kissel drove a ball into the right-center gap for a two-run double, while Brady Miller and Garret Cook added RBI doubles in the frame. Plainfield North tacked on four more runs in the top of the sixth to pull away for good. Nate Curtis delivered the big hit in the frame, a two-run triple to the left-center field wall.

Three junior arms for Plainfield North threw two innings a piece. Dylan Szajkovics and Nate Curtis did not allow a base runner in each of their two innings. Curtis struck out the first five batters he faced while dialing his fastball up to 89 mph a couple of times.

Metamora scored their two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Vogel singled and later scored on a single by Logan Hadfield.   

Garret Cook finished 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base for Plainfield North.

KANELAND 3, WASHINGTON 2 (GRIZZLIES STADIUM; SAUGET, IL)

Behind a strong pitching performance by Alex Buchanon, the Kaneland Knights defeated the Washington Panthers 3-2 in a windy game at Grizzlie Stadium. Buchanon pitched himself out of two jams in the second and third frames with a finishing line of: 3 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 0 R, 4 K.

Kaneland put up one in the first off a single and heads up baserunning by Angel Acevedo. He had a strong day scoring twice with one hit and a walk. The Knights put up two in the third off a costly throwing error that put them ahead for the game. Lucas Gomes also had a hit, a walk and a run scored on the day.

Ryan Guenther took the loss for the Panthers; 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 0 ER, 4 K. Washington’s Kendal Hofer finished 2-for-2 at the plate, with two singles, walking twice and scoring once.

DAY 3 - FRIDAY, MARCH 16

JOLIET CATHOLIC 4, KANELAND 1 (EDWARDSVILLE HS JV)

The Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers earned the victory in a rain shortened game over the Kaneland Knights. An early pitching duel between JCA’s Greg Ziegler (4 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 H & 9 K’s) and Kaneland’s Robbie Dudzinski (4 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 H & 5 K’s) headlined the nightcap at Edwardsville. Ziegler helped his cause at the plate going 1-for-2 with one walk, one run scored, one RBI and swiping two bags.  

Angel Acevedo had a productive day for the Knights leading off the game with a double and coming around to score on a RBI ground out from Nikolas Panico. Acevedo also flashed off the cannon throwing out Aidan Tyrell at third to end JCA’s threat in the top of the first.

Max Cullen and Christian Knapczyk both slashed doubles in the 3rd inning putting the HIlltoppers ahead for good in the contest. Cullen finished 2-for-2 with a single, a double, walking once and scoring one run. Knapczkyk was 1-for-2 making hard contact both times at the plate knocking in a run.

O’FALLON 1, OAK FOREST 0 (BLAZIER FIELD - O’FALLON HS)

Timely hitting by 1B Matt Albritton and a combined shutout between SP Logan Boente and RP Jaysn Miller, propel O’Fallon to a 1-0 victory over Oak Forest Friday evening at Blazier Field. Boente, a McKendree University commit, went five innings, allowing only one hit while striking out seven. Jaysn Miller, Elmhurst College commit, relieved Boente and shut the door, striking out four of the six batters he faced in route to the win.

The Panthers scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Quinn Lowery led the innining off with a walk. Albritton followed up by turning on a pitch down the right field line for a an RBI-double.

Connor Oliver, Wichita St. commit, got the start for Oak Forest. Oliver did not allow a ball in play over his 2.1 innings pitched, striking out seven and walking four. Offensively, Sam Ochoa recorded the only hit.

BROTHER RICE 9, PLAINFIELD NORTH 5 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM; SAUGET, IL)

The Crusaders of Brother Rice used a five-run top of the fourth inning to take the lead over Plainfield North before ultimately winning the rain-shortened contest 9-5. The big hit in the five run fourth inning, that gave Brother Rice a 6-5 lead at the times, was a two-run triple to the right-center field gap delivered by junior Ryan Maher. Marquis Jackson also had an RBI single and scored in the frame.

Brother Rice tacked on two more runs in the fifth and one in the sixth en-route to the win. Senior RHP Zach Litke came out of the bullpen and did not allow a run or a hit in 2.2 innings of work for Brother Rice. He struck out three and walked one.

Plainfield North came out of the gates hot, scoring three in the first inning and two more in the third. Greg Budig, Gavin Doyle and Cameron Kissel all reached base to start the game and ultimately scored the three first inning runs.

Sophomore Marquis Jackson, an Oklahoma commit, led the way offensively for Brother Rice going 3-for-4 with two runs scored an RBI and a stolen base.

ALTON 20, TINLEY PARK 0 (EDWARDSVILLE HS)

The Alton Redbirds used an explosive offensive output to run-rule Tinley Park 20-0 on Friday afternoon at Edwardsville H.S.’s Tom Pile Field. The Redbirds tallied 20 runs on 13 hits, drawing 13 walks in the process as well.

Charlie Erler, Lipscomb commit, recorded the only extra-base hit for Alton with his double; Erler finished the day 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBI and one walk. Other notable offensive performances include: Riley Phillips (3-for-5, 4 RBI, 2 Rs), Wesley Laaker (2-for-3, 3 RBI; 3.0 IP, 7 K, 1 H), Jackson Brooks (2-for-2, 2 RBI, 4 Rs, 3 BB), and Robby Taul (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 Rs, 1 BB).

 Tinley Park’s lone hit came on a Mike Laib double.

JOLIET CATHOLIC 10 OSWEGO EAST 0 (EDWARDSVILLE HS JV)

The Hilltoppers used a nine run fifth inning to run-rule the Oswego East Wolves 10-0 in five innings. Greg Ziegler (Missouri State commit), Justin Conant (Ball State commit) and Chris Kosinski each collected two hits, while seven players contributed at least one RBI.

Aiden Tyrell, Notre Dame commit, got the start, striking out eight, walking two and surrendering one hit over four innings. Ryan Surin pitched a clean fifth inning, striking out one.

Dominic Zupo recorded the only hit for the Wolves with his third inning single.

MOLINE 9, CIVIC MEMORIAL 2 (BELLEVILLE EAST HS)

The Maroons of Moline got six scoreless innings from Devon Breiholz en-route to a 9-2 win over Civic Memorial in their season opener.

TEUTOPOLIS 10, BELLEVILLE WEST 5 (BLAZIER FIELD; O’FALLON, IL)

The Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring nine total runs on six hits, five walks and a hit-by-pitch. Senior Eric Kremer singled, doubled, scored a run and knocked in a run in the frame that sent 15 batters to the plate. Cody Jansen added a two-run single and scored, while Ethyn Dust, Evan Althoff and Jared Bloemer all had run-scoring singles in the frame.

Jansen came out of the bullpen and got the win for the Wooden Shoes. The right-hander went four innings, scattered four hits, one run, none earned and struck out four.

Belleville West got a quality start from RHP Hunter Grupe. Grupe, who left the game with the lead, went four innings, one hit, no earned runs and struck out two.

EDWARDSVILLE 11, TINLEY PARK 1 (EDWARDSVILLE HS)

A big third inning by the Edwardsville Tigers resulted in a 11-1 rout of the Tinley Park Titans. In the third frame the Tigers put up a nine spot getting contributions from all over the lineup card. Jack Cooper, Josh Ohl, Collin Elvers, Joe Toscano, Blake Burris and Drake Wescott all knocked a run in on the frame. Burris laced a triple that one hopped the left field wall.

Burris, Cooper, and Wescott all had multiple hit performances for the Tigers. Ryan Zientara shined for Tinley Park going 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles.

Dawson Taylor had a strong performance on the mound for Edwardsville gaining the victory. In three innings of work, he struck out six, walked one, allowed two hits and no runs. Matt Boyer threw 2 quality innings for the Tigers out of the pen allowing one unearned run, fanning one on three hits and no walks.

MT. ZION 6, SALEM 0 (BELLEVILLE EAST HS)

The Mt. Zion Braves topped the Salem Wildcats 6-0 in the 11 AM kickoff at Belleville East. Mt. Zion jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom half of the first inning and kept the foot on the gas. With two outs in the inning, Sophomore Braden Highley flared a two out single to left scoring one, as well as scoring himself courtesy of Bradley Reynolds single to left. Highley finished 2-for-3 on the day with two runs scored and one RBI. Reynolds was 2-for-2 with a walk and one RBI.

Trevor Durand turned in a good day on the mound for Mt. Zion going four innings, allowing three hits, no runs, one walk and striking out six. His opposition Levi Hays pitched better than his line taking the loss: 3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K’s, 4 H, 2 BB.

NORMAL U-HIGH 8, BREESE MATER DEI 2 (EDWARDSVILLE HS)

Normal University High jumped on Breese Mater Dei early and often, scoring eight runs through the first four innings. Matt Taylor got the start and picked up the win for the Pioneers, going five innings, surrendering one run on two hits to go along with five strikeouts.

Offensively, six Pioneers recorded a hit, including multi-hit games for Parker Mathieson (2-for-4 with two runs scored) and Matt Mier (2-for-3, two runs scored). U-High used their great team speed to swipe 10 stolen bases, setting their offense up.

Breese Mater Dei were able to get two runs back off the Pioneer bullpen in the fifth and sixth innings, but were unable to close the gap any further.

TRIAD 6, NORMAL WEST 1 (BLAZIER FIELD; OFALLON, IL)

The Knights of Triad rode the right arm of senior Nick Beeler to a 6-1 win over Normal West. The McKendree commit, got the win going 6 innings, striking out nine while scattering four hits and allowing one earned run. Beeler used a steady fastball/curveball combination to keep the Normal West lineup off balance.

Triad built a 3-1 lead heading to the seventh inning. They broke the game open for good in the seventh scoring three runs on three hits a walk and an error. Matt Weis delivered a run-scoring single in the frame. Josh Messenbrink singled, stole a base and scored a run in the frame.

Ethan Gratton finished the day 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch to pace the Triad offense. Jacob Marti went 2-for-4 to lead the way for Normal West.

DAY 2 - THURSDAY, MARCH 15

CHAMPAIGN CENTRAL 9, BREESE CENTRAL 2 (EDWARDSVILLE HS)

Champaign Central put up at least one run in five of the seven innings in route to a 9-2 victory over Breese Central. John A. Logan commit RHP Cam Robinson picked up the win for the Maroons, pitching five strong innings, allowing one run while striking out six and walking one.

Champaign took a 1-0 advantage in the second inning thanks to an RBI-single by Hayden Cekander. The Maroons would add two runs apiece over the next three innings thanks to contributions from the entire lineup. 3B Joel Sarver led the team offensively with two hits and two RBI, and Cam Robinson helped his own cause, driving in three runs on two hits.

Breese Central was limited to five hits on the day. Camden Wempe was one of the bright spots for the Cougars, going 2-for-4 with a double and run scored. 1B Trent Nunn, DH Tyler Malone, and C Max Kampwerth all picked up a hit. Kampwerth also caught three runners stealing on the day.

NORMAL U-HIGH 5, FREEBURG 3 (BELLEVILLE EAST HS)

The Normal U-High Pioneers topped the Freeburg Midgets 5-3 in the 4:00 PM matinee at Belleville East. Normal U-High took an early 1-0 lead in the first off an RBI single off the bat of Jacob Mote, followed by three unearned runs in the second and never looked back. Freeburg plated a run in the 2nd frame on a RBI groundout off the bat of Payton Benkendorf. Mote finished 2-for-3 on the day with an opposite field double, one RBI, one run scored and one stolen base.

Owen Smith collected two base knocks for the Midgets finishing 2-for-3 at the plate. Teammate Nick Yeager pitched five strong innings in relief allowing one unearned run, four hits, no walks and punched out four Pioneers. His opposition, Jack Sauser, had a solid start picking up the victory going four innings and allowing one run on one hit, fanning two of his own.

Freeburg threatened in the fifth loading the bases with two outs. Nathan Hardman entered the game and endured a fly out to end the inning. Hardman finished the game going two and a third, allowing zero runs on two hits and two walks.

MT. ZION 18, TRIAD 10 (BLAZIER FIELD, O’FALLON, IL)

A big seven run top of the fifth inning propelled Mt. Zion to an 18-10 win over Triad. The Braves trailed 7-3 before the big fifth inning. Daniel Chausse, who was the starting pitching to begin the game, delivered a big two-run double in the frame and junior Kooper Loehr added a two-run single.

A number of Mt. Zion hitters had big offensive days. Jonah Smith finished 3-for-4 with four RBI, two walks and one run. Loehr finished 3-for-5 with four RBI a walk and a run. Trevor Durand finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI a walk a run. Bradley Reynolds went 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored. Chausse finished with two hits.

Triad had their fair share of impressive offensive performances as well. Josh Mesenbrink finished 3-for-4 with a double, triple, two RBI and three runs scored. Zach Kraabel finished 2-for-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI.

LHP Zach Pounders came out of the bullpen and did not allow an earned run in 3.2 innings pitched. He scattered two hits and struck out two.

CIVIC MEMORIAL 5, BELLEVILLE EAST 1 (SIU-EDWARDSVILLE)

Senior RHP Geoff Withers was the story of the game in Civic Memorial’s 5-1 win over Belleville East. The McKendree University commit got the win, going 6.2 innings, allowing one run, three hits, two walks while striking out 10. Withers was efficient all night attacking hitters behind a fastball that sat 84-87 mph throughout. The extra-large right-hander consistently mixed in a curveball and changeup for strikes to keep the Belleville East lineup off balance.

The Civic Memorial offense scored five runs largely due to drawing 11 walks on the night and a couple of timely hits. Zach Vaughn went 2-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored for Civic Memorial.

Austin Hitt added a double and a run for Belleville East and Zach Gebhardt came off the bench and ripped a double down the left-field line in the last inning.

ALTON 6, CARBONDALE 1 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM, SAUGET, IL)

Junior Adam Stilts twirled six innings of shutout baseball, leading Alton to a 6-1 win over Carbondale. In Stilts six innings of work he struck out six, walked one and scattered four hits.

Alton had a steady offensive attack, scoring two in the first, one in the second, two in the fourth and one more in the fifth. Senior Charlie Erler led the way going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Jackson Brooks and Brandon Droste each added a triple and an RBI.

Riley Coffer led the way for Carbondale going 2-for-3.

CHATHAM GLENWOOD 11, BELLEVILLE WEST 0 (5 INN) (BLAZIER FIELD, O’FALLON, IL)

In the nightcap at Blazier Field, the Chatham-Glenwood Titans were victorious over the Belleville West Maroons 11-0 in a five inning affair. The Titans received a strong performance from Gavin Wahlbrink who got the win going four innings, giving up zero runs, two hits, two walks, striking out 4.

Chatham-Glenwood put up a crooked number in the second inning manufacturing four runs courtesy of a leadoff walk and three straight singles. Cole Hembrough then cleared the bases with a double that one hopped the center field wall. Hembrough finished 3-for-4 at the dish scoring two runs for the Titans. Teammate Adam Holm collected two hits, scored twice and swiped a bag on the base paths. 

Todd Fowler (Glenwood) also had a productive day scoring twice, collecting two RBI and legging out an infield single. Fowler showed off the arm cutting down the only runner to reach third base for the Maroons ending the frame. The throw didn’t get higher than five feet off the ground.

Joey Kossina and Eden Buss collected the two lone hits for the Maroons at the plate. Drew Detmers closed it out for the Titans on the mound striking out the final batter of the game. Final line: 1IP, 0R, 1 BB, 1 K. 

EDWARDSVILLE 4, COLUMBIA 1 (EDWARDSVILLE HS)

In their season opener at Tom Pile Field, the Edwardsville Tigers gave the home crowd something to celebrate as they took down the Columbia Cougars 4-1 on Thursday evening.

Reid Hendrickon, Jonathon Yancik and Bryce Henry combined to allow one run on two hits. Hendrickson got the start, going 3.1 innings, surrendering one hit and striking out five. Yancik relieved him striking out five over 2.2 innings

The Tiger offense was consistent in adding one run in each of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. 1B Drake Westcott tallied three hits on the day, including two doubles, one RBI and one run scored. The other two hits by the Tigers were registered by Hendrickson and Ben Basarich.

Sam Spivey and Mitch Daniels were responsible for the two Columbia hits on the night. Spivey also added the lone RBI. RHP Luke Watson got the start, going four innings, allowing two unearned runs on two hits with six strikeouts and three walks.

DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14

PLEASANT PLAINS 8, ALTAMONT 0 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM, SAUGET, IL)

The first game in the Kickoff Classic was a quick-paced shutout in favor of the Pleasant Plains Cardinals over the Altamont Indians. The Cardinals manufactured a run in the first, three in the third, and never looked back resulting in a final score of 8-0.

The lefty duo of TJ Painter and Giuseppe Mattera stood out from the six Pleasant Plains arms who all combined on a one-hit shutout. Painter started and went two innings with three K’s allowing no runners to reach base. Mattera had a strong inning striking out two hitters with dazzling breaking balls while running his fastball up to 87 mph multiple times.

Joe Lee reached base and scored three times for the Cardinals and teammate Carter Weiters was 2-for-3 with two RBIs on the day. Dakota Kuhlman had the sole single for the Indians. 

Senior pitcher Kaleb Whitt stuck out the side for Altamont in his one-inning of work out of the bullpen.

NORMAL U-HIGH 10, BREESE CENTRAL 0 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM, SAUGET, IL)

The Normal U High Pioneers blanked the Breese Central Cougars 10-0 in the second game at Grizzlie Stadium behind Chris Cuppini’s strong performance on the mound. Cuppini went five innings scattering four hits, striking out eight and walking one. He finished 2-for-3 with a double and run scored at the plate.

In the third frame, a costly two out error led to back to back singles by Normal U-High’s Nate Hardman and Owen Martin leading to three runs in the frame. Hardman went 1-for-3 on the day with 2 RBI and a run scored. Martin finished 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBI. Jacob Mote scored twice on the day while going 1-for-5 at the dish. 

Breese Central flashed signs of a rally in the fourth inning by getting the first two runners on, but then bunted into a double play halting any momentum in their favor. Calvin Rakers was the bright spot of the offense slashing two singles going 2-for-3 on the day.

Lefty Dylan Wilson started for the Cougars going three innings on the mound, allowing zero runs and striking out three.

FREEBURG 2, ALTON 1 (ROY E. FIELD - SIUE-EDWARDSVILLE, IL)

Freeburg won in thrilling fashion with a walk-off walk in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Alton 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon. Brady Schmitz drew the bases loaded walk for the Midgets, scoring Tommy Speranzi who reached on an error by the shortstop to leadoff the inning.

Starting pitchers RHP Travis Bergkoetter (Freeburg) and Lipscomb commit RHP Charlier Erler (Alton) kept each other in check, as they allowed a combined one hit through four innings. Erler collected seven punch outs over the first four innings, while Bergkoetter amassed four of his own and induced five ground ball outs to the shortstop in the same span.

Freeburg got on the board first in the fifth inning by way of a Ryan Schaller single that scored Carson Smith. Erler exited the game one batter later, finishing with a line of 4.2 IP, 8 Ks, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 R.

Down to their final out, Alton’s Adam Stilts knocked in Robby Taul to knot the game at one apiece. Taul reached on an error to lead off the inning; on the day he 1-for-3 with a double.

Brant Bowen picked up the victory for Freeburg. Bowen entered in the sixth, striking out the side, and then worked out of a jam in the seventh to setup the Midget offense. Starter Travis Bergkoetter went five innings, allowing zero runs on one hit, striking out four.   

No. 3 O’FALLON 7, BREESE MATER DEI 2 (BLAZIER FIELD)

The Panthers of O’Fallon opened their season defeating Breese Mater Dei by the score of 7-2. Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, O’Fallon finally got it going, scoring five runs in the frame. Senior Jacob Dreyer delivered the big hit of the inning, a pinch-hit grand slam lined over the left-field wall.

Senior RHP Adam Drewry came out of the bullpen and picked up the win for O’Fallon. Drewry, who ran his fastball up to 84 mph, did not allow a hit or a run and struck out three in 2.2 innings of work. Senior RHP Hayden Juenger, a Missouri State commit, also made his presence felt in the game. The athletic right-hander threw 11 pitches and struck out the side in his one inning of work. Juenger sat 91-92 mph with his fastball.

Breese Mater Dei jumped out to the early lead, scoring two runs in the second inning. Muntan had an RBI double and Goestenkors added a run-scoring single in the frame.

Nathan Martin, went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the win.

NORMAL U-HIGH 9, TEUTOPOLIS 4 (GRIZZLIE STADIUM, SAUGET, IL)

In Normal U High’s second game of the day, they ousted Teutopolis 9-4. Teutopolis grabbed the early lead going up 4-0 after the second inning with the help of a bases clearing triple by Cody Jansen, but couldn’t plate another run leaving the bases loaded twice late in the game. Jansen finished 1-for-4 with three RBI.

Lee Hardiek (Teutopolis) reached base in his four plate appearances scoring twice while going 2-for-2 at the dish. Normal U-High took the lead in the 5th frame plating four runners, two of them being courtesy of Nathan Hardman’s two RBI single to right. Hardman finished 2-for-4 with three RBI on the day. Owen Martin scored a run while going 3-for-4 and teammates Parker Mathieson, Matt Mier and Jacob Mote each crossed the place twice in the night cap.

Jack Feely (Normal U) was credited with the win going five innings, allowing three hits, four runs, striking out four. His opposition, Ethyn Dust, went four and a third innings allowing two hits, three earned, fanning six of his own. Martin closed it out for Normal U-High going two strong innings, striking out the final batter of the game.

No. 21 CHATHAM-GLENWOOD 6, COLUMBIA 4 (9 INNINGS)  (ROY E. FIELD - SIUE-EDWARDSVILLE, IL)

The pitching matchup of Coastal Carolina commit RHP Jacob Maton (Chatham-Glenwood, 2018) versus Missouri commit RHP Shane Wilhelm (Columbia, 2019) lived up to its billing. The two aces dominated throughout, Maton threw five strong innings, striking out 10 and allowing no hits while Wilhelm countered with seven strikeouts, four hits, and one run allowed over the same span.  

Once the starters exited the back and forth affair began. Trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth Columbia struck for four runs and seemingly took control of the game. Drew Drabant collected the big go-ahead double which knocked in two runs while Sam Spivey and Mitch Daniels added RBI singles later in the inning.

Down to their final three outs, the Titans of Chatham-Glenwood rallied to tie the game at 4-4. Delta State commit Todd Fowler got the rally started with an RBI double. Cole Hembrough and Maton followed suit, picking an RBI of their own to send the game into extras. Hembrough finished with three singles on the day.

In the ninth innning, Graham Bender led off for Glenwood with a single one of two hits in his 2-for-2 day with two walks . A sacrifice bunt and an error would lead to pinch hitter Lucas Ryan putting the ball in play to score the go-ahead run. Jalen Ping added another run on an RBI single.

In addition to pitching, Wilhelm went 2-for-5 at the plate with a triple and run scored.

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